Channi, Cabinet members offer prayers at Kartarpur gurdwara

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and some of his Cabinet ministers on Thursday offered prayers at the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, travelling through the visa-free Kartarpur corridor that reopened after a gap of 20 months.

Channi, accompanied by Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, PWD Minister Vijay Inder Singla, MLAs Harpartap Singh Ajnala and Barindermeet Singh Pahra and his family members, crossed the border at around 1 pm. “I am very happy to come here. I have received immense love from Punjabis, Pakistanis and SGPC, and I am highly indebted for this,” said Channi, after reaching the shrine.

The over 4-km long Kartarpur corridor links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district.

Channi added he will pray at the gurudwara for further prosperity, peace and harmony on both sides of the border.

On his return, Channi urged the governments of India and Pakistan to simplify the process of obtaining permission to pay obeisance at the gurdwara. He also announced free bus service from across Punjab to Dera Baba Nanak for facilitating pilgrims who have permission to visit Kartarpur Sahib.

Speaking to mediapersons, Channi expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan for taking the “historic initiative” of reopening the corridor. He said India and Pakistan should deliberate on commencing trade and commerce through Punjab’s borders, adding that it will help to usher in “a new era of unprecedented progress and prosperity” in the state.

Evacuee Trust Property Board spokesperson Amir Hashmi said in Lahore that besides the group led by Channi, a 21-member delegation of BJP leaders also visited the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.

Kartarpur Corridor Project Management Unit Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Muhammad Latif, who received the Indian delegation at Kartarpur Sahib, said the Punjab chief minister was “very happy” to visit the shrine and said he would love to visit again.
— With PTI inputs, Lahore

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